How to Turn Your Mobile Device into a Universal Translator
Whether you’re traveling to Tanzania, Taiwan, or Tokyo, you’re likely going to run into situations where English is not the primary language. But rather than blow hundreds of dollars on Rosetta Stone or fumble through archaic paperback phrasebooks, drop one of these helpful real-time translation apps on your phone instead.
There’s a good chance that you’ll be confronted by foreign language as soon as you step off the plane with a myriad of signage directing you through the terminal—if only you could understand a single word of it. Luckily, the Word Lens app leverages your camera and processor to immediately translate foreign letters into English words. The app converts Russian, Portuguese, German, Italian, French, and Spanish, through you’ll have to buy each language set as a separate in-app purchase. Still, Word Lens doesn’t need a network connection to function. Word Lens is available for both iOS and Android.
Speak and Translate
This translation app does for voice what Word Lens does for print. Simply speak into your mobile device and the system will automatically record, convert, and play your conversations into one of 100 languages. This makes Speak and Translate a valuable resource not only as a real-time translator/phrasebook for when you’re standing in the middle of a busy Mediterranean marketplace but also as a language and pronunciation coach in the weeks leading up to your trip. Find free Android app here.
iTranslate is one of the most popular translation apps on iTunes. It instantly translates your speech into one of 42 different languages. Instead of speaking into your phone, handing it over for the other party to listen and reply, and then having it returned, AirTranslate allows each party to pair their respective mobile devices. What’s more, iTranslate offers a translation similar translation service for your email, SMS, Twitter or Facebook accounts. The app will cost you a whopping $2. [iTunes]
Microsoft’s answer to AirTranslate isn’t quite out yet (it’s scheduled for a Win8 beta release later this year) but should prove nothing short of revolutionary once it is. Employing neural network-based speech recognition technology, Skype Translate will offer near real-time audio translations of both sides of your video conference.[via gizmodo]